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Courage to run
Re She Was A Running Prodigy. He Was The Most Powerful Man In Track. How Her Promising Career Unravelled (Folio, Feb. 8): This was a heartbreaking article. My two daughters were competent high school athletes, and I was relieved they did not have the extra talents that would land them at another level of competitive sports. There is something about an exceptional female athlete that makes them vulnerable at the best of times, but particularly when they are in the process of forming a sense of their own identity in adolescence.
What Megan Brown needed was respect for her devastating family loss, for her resilient coping strategy and for her gift.
Patricia Chevalier Petersburg, Ont.
Megan Brown was the beloved coach of her own running club, Megan Brown Performance. Every Tuesday and Wednesday for many years, we could be seen gutting out workouts in midtown Toronto, guided by this extraordinary woman who made us feel strong and empowered. She did this all while trying to work through such profound personal pain, silently struggling to reconcile her own feelings about competitive running with the needs of her athletes.
With Megan’s quiet strength and gentle demand for our own introspection, we achieved successes in ways that didn’t necessarily correspond to numbers on a clock. Sure, personal bests under Megan were par for the course, but more importantly, she showed us that love and support for our teammates was paramount, that the best work could be done as a collective. Under Megan, we achieved precisely what was taken from her: a relationship to running as an expression of our passion for life, and a vehicle for growth.
We hope she can feel us enveloping her in a great big hug and whispering the same thing she’d say to us, time after time: “You got this.”
Carrie Scace President, Toronto Harriers
Sports organizations idealize character, team work, discipline and fair play. But they often value winning more, and idealized values are meaningless when institutions fail to protect their athletes. It seems no one in power stood up for Megan Brown.
I admire Ms. Brown and her teammate who blew the whistle on the wretchedness of the sports system. They are heroic and gutsy women. I hope they retain their love of running.
Phyllis Berck Past chair, Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport; Toronto
Law and order
Re Blockades, Protests And The Rule Of Law (Editorial, Feb. 13): There is a notion, in some quarters, of achieving consensus regarding climate change and pipeline issues. I believe this is an illusion and will not occur.
With any group of citizens, it’s often best to delineate the various forces that are present. An aggregation of personal goals and expectations should be openly discussed. These are complex systems and many influencers, some more persuasive than others, affect the path forward.
Following the rule of an agreed upon institutional law offers a modicum of agreement, but not consensus. There will always be dissent, since not all involved will necessarily get satisfaction.
Walter Petryschuk Author, Canada – A Nation in Jeopardy; Sarnia, Ont.
Inasmuch as Canada begins to draw on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to establish principles in regards to Indigenous self-determination, I feel it’s of equal importance to heed the fundamental principles of democracy – foundational values of that same United Nations.
We should remember how the right to free and fair elections has been defended around the world, in order to ensure equitable representation for all people as a universal human right. It may well not be up to anyone, such as the Canadian government, to interfere in the constitution of First Nation leadership – unless, I believe, an undefended minority is truly in harm’s way, or equitable representation for all people on the land is not respected. Then there is perhaps a greater concern, indeed a moral imperative, to ensure everyone’s basic universal human rights.
Darrell Horn Winnipeg
Re To Whom It May Concern (Letters, Feb. 13): When a person does not give “free, prior, and informed consent,” and something is still taken from them, we usually call it theft. Yet a letter-writer mulls the question of “what are the criteria for overriding First Nation unwillingness to give consent?” If this were a single person being discussed, such talk would be odious. It should be equally problematic when talking about relations between Canada and First Nation groups.
The same writer also believes that the Supreme Court should decide such a question. I believe this would replicate the original colonial error of domination through force and indifference.
Conrad Sichler Hamilton
Road to redemption
Re How To Redeem ‘Cancel Culture’ (Opinion, Feb. 8): I do not believe fighting climate change is solely the concern of the secular hordes Preston Manning fears. Many people of all religions are motivated precisely because of their faith to fight for climate justice. There is a growing resistance, among people of faith and no faith alike, to overcome the damage being done to the earth, to protect those who do not belong to the dominant culture and ensure the future is better for all. The same is true of racism: Many churches, synagogues, mosques and temples are at the forefront of ensuring those issues are addressed.
It feels tiresome to listen to people such as Mr. Manning, whose sole desire, it seems, is to turn culture backward to a time when only white, Christian males benefited from the power structures of society.
Reverend Andrew Richardson Summerside, PEI
I agree with much of what Preston Manning writes about political correctness, but not the idea that there are no opportunities for forgiveness and reintegration.
In the past, sinners might have confessed in front of religious authorities or church congregations. Today, the ritual takes place on television. The venue of choice used to be The Oprah Winfrey Show (now it’s probably Dr. Phil). The performance doesn’t have to be an over-the-top, full-on Jimmy Swaggart, but neither can the wrongdoer waffle in the slightest degree.
As Roseanne Barr discovered, attempts to justify one’s behaviour can render the endeavour a failure. But if it goes well, writing and speaking about one’s Damascene conversion can offer a new career path.
Anita Dermer Toronto
In Preston Manning’s defence of Don Cherry, he seems to have forgotten one thing: As far as I know, Mr. Cherry never admitted his sins nor asked for forgiveness; he doubled down and said he called it like he saw it. I think many Christians, of which I am one, would have trouble with that situation.
Joy Ruttan Gatineau, Que.
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